“Prince Charles, Tom Hanks, Jackson Browne, Chris Cuomo, Kevin Durant. Anybody who’s anybody is getting it!” the late-night host also quipped in his first ‘Real Time’ monologue in two weeks.
Bill Maher’s return to late night on HBO following Real Time‘s two-week absence included sit-downs with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders as well as a few knocks on the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
At the top of his show, shot from his backyard in Los Angeles, Maher immediately addressed the virus crisis, joking that he has no symptoms “except if you count shitting my pants every time Trump talks.”
The host criticized Trump’s penchant to brag about his “ratings,” noting that any increase, for now, might be because “your viewers aren’t allowed to leave the house. What else are they gonna do? Read?”
During his “New Rules” segment, Maher continued to go after Trump, labeling the president the “Worst Responder,” questioning why the president’s approval rating has gone up during the virus outbreak.
“He’s not FDR or JFK, he’s LOL. So it’s more than a little disturbing that he’s getting a bump in the polls around this. A bump that tells us we’re once again entering into ‘Rally around the leader’ time. Around the guy who made it worse.”
Maher did attempt to offer some comfort to those concerned about living through a pandemic. “We’re gonna get through this. We are. And stress? It’s the worst thing for your immune system, so try to think a little positive.”
But he quickly went back to poking fun at those who’ve tested positive for COVID-19, including Prince Charles, Chris Cuomo and Tom Hanks, saying “anybody who’s anybody is getting it!”
“And you know Tom Hanks, of course, was so classy when he got it. He said, ‘It’s an honor just to be contaminated,'” Maher added.
During the quarantined interview with Sanders, the presidential nominee called the current crisis caused by COVID-19 “unprecedented moment in American history,” adding if he were currently in the Oval Office, his main focus would be “to prevent a breakdown in the entire system.”
Sanders added that until the crisis is resolved, focal points for the administration should include telling “every worker in America you will continue to get your paycheck” and ensuring Americans “get the healthcare they need without out-of-pocket expenses.”
Maher questioned how long can the government continue to pay workers amid the pandemic, asking Sanders if the continuance of “printing money” is a “recipe for economic disaster down the road?”
The senator noted that “by not preventing a crisis you end up saving money,” adding that his suggestions have been enacted by other countries including the U.K., Germany, Norway, Denmark.
Maher and Sanders turned to Trump’s “favoring” of certain states amid the coronavirus crisis — referring to Florida having received all the supplies it has asked for while most states have not — of which Mahers called an “impeachable” offense.
“It is literally beyond comprehension,” Sanders said. “We have a president who has done so much harm in this entire process, who has downplayed the crisis from day one, which will cost us.”
Maher also hosted L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti remotely to discuss the city’s coronavirus response.
Given that California adopted “Stay-at-Home” policies earlier than other parts of the country, could it also get rid of coronavirus faster, Maher asked?
“The quicker people do things, the shorter this will last and the slower people do things, the longer this will last,” Garcetti said. “But we also were not as far into the infection as other parts of the country like the East Coast, so it remains to be seen here.”
Garcetti added that L.A. is 14 to 17 days behind New York in the progression of the virus, so he expects Stay-at-Home orders to remain in place for a few months.
As for the grade Garcetti would give Angelenos for complying with coronavirus policies? A solid “B,” he said, though noted that a recent analysis of cell phone data showed L.A. County is the county moving the least in the country.
Still, Garcetti is concerned about the supplies L.A. currently has and what it will have as the virus takes its course: “We need to be prepared for the second spike of this when it comes in the late fall or the early winter. We’ve got to use the federal resources better.”
As for what he thinks of federal response so far, Garcetti said, “I’d like to see much more assertive leadership, much more national standards, much earlier adoption.”
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